Freshet Update | June 2

By June 2, 2020June 18th, 2020No Comments

Residents should expect receding water levels on the Nicola River beginning this evening!  The City has received notice from the dam operator that a gate change has been made at the dam, to reduce outflows by ~2cms, to about 51cms.

Thankfully, the Nicola Basin didn’t get the precipitation expected with the storm this past weekend and there was little response in the streams that feed Nicola Lake.   Nicola Lake peaked on Sunday and has begun to recede, allowing this slight reduction in outflows from the dam.

While residents can expect very gradual recession in Nicola River levels over the next 1-2 weeks, Nicola Lake is more than 60 centimetres above full supply, so river levels will need to remain high to completely eliminate any potential flood risk.  We encourage residents to keep temporary protective measures in place during this time.

Further, the City understands that high lake levels have necessitated evacuations for upstream residents, due to groundwater infiltration of septic systems.  The City is extremely grateful for the storage capacity that is provided by Nicola Lake, as there would have been overland flooding this year without it, but we are also mindful of the impact that storage has on our neighbours.  To that end, the City fully supports the dam operator’s decision to maintain high river flows for as long as necessary to ensure that evacuated residents can return to their homes as soon as possible.

“This has been a crazy year on the freshet front”, said Mayor Linda Brown.  “With how early the snow melted there was little cause for alarm at the end of April, but the rain just kept coming throughout May, to the point where we all started to feel a little nervous.  That being said, Council committed to ensuring better preparation and communication during freshet season and I feel strongly that the City delivered on that promise.  In addition, we are moving forward with the Voght Street Corner project, which commences this month and will provide further protection against high flows for years to come.  I would like to thank residents and staff for all of your efforts in helping us move safely through another year of high water.”

The City will continue to monitor the system and will provide updates regarding any change in conditions.

For More Information Contact:
Sean Smith, EOC Information Officer
City of Merritt
Telephone: (250) 378-8634

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